The housekeepers’ have the most dynamic and multi-tasking role in the hospitality industry. Choices and decisions abound their everyday routines. Some of the executive housekeepers who are at the top of their game share with Vijayalakshmi Sridhar what they look for while choosing the right vendors, employees, supplies and solutions.
Though all kinds of choices and decisionmaking are crucial to the housekeepers’ role, making product choices is extra crucial as it is directly linked with guest experiences and brand image. Good quality and cost streamline the choice. Abhaya Bhalekar, Housekeeping Manager, Hyatt Regency, Pune, lists the other parameters. “There is also equal importance given to after sales support and training. We do a demo of all new equipment, chemicals and hygiene products that we intend to purchase. We look for at least three to four vendors for each product and do samplings. If the products give the desired results, we then involve the materials department for getting the most competitive quotations and for negotiating the best no-regret rates from each of the shortlisted vendors. A comparative rate analysis is then done and that product which gives the best results and with the least cost is selected.”
– Abhaya Bhalekar
S Rajasekar, Executive Housekeeper, Cida de Goa shares the way the five star resort goes about choosing the bathroom accessories and cleaning chemicals. “In terms of bathroom accessories, the products should match with the hotel’s décor. It should be easy to use with easy availability of the same model and spare parts. In terms of cleaning chemicals, the product should be cost-effective on the RTU (Ready To Use – Product after the suggested dilution) stage. It is also important that the product does the cleaning with less mechanical action, saving time. All products should be well colour coded, so that the same can be easily understood by the team. Above all, a single product should address all the issues and thereby save the team cost and complications.”
Menu Tognatta, Divisional Housekeeper, ITC Group of Hotels, New Delhi, adds the quintessential ITC check list. “In addition to the baseline check, we also check the vendors’ chemical composition, Green Seal certification, MSDA compliance and look for howto-use staff orientation and posters for understanding and the proportion for best results. We go for chemicals that come along with dispensers and are less water-consuming.”
In the hospitality industry, the members of staff are the best ambassadors for the brand. They have to be recruited and trained well, in close alignment with the brand ideologies, vision and mission. Sudesh Kumar Singh, Executive Housekeeper, The Gateway Hotel Beach Road, Visakhapatnam tells us how Taj group of hotels go about staff recruitment. “While recruiting the staff, it is very much essential to know the requirement of your hotel and the candidate’s suitability to the kind of role that needs to be filled. They need to be updated with the current systems and procedures in the hotel. The important things that are required in a candidate are: knowledge about the subject, sense of responsibility towards the job, positive attitude and passion to give his best.”
The challenge to meet schedules gets tougher when the hotel is fully booked at peak seasons. Bhavana Alvares, Executive Housekeeper, Vivanta by Taj, Bangalore, tells us what a smart housekeeper does when under pressure. “Smart Housekeepers discuss occupancy patterns with revenue managers before placing orders for guest supplies, room linen and other housekeeping items. Based on occupancy and number of guests expected, the order is placed. This also includes putting rooms out of order during off season. This is known by knowledge of the market scenario and what share your hotel has. Secondly, there are suppliers who have agreed to stock the items for the hotels, thus not burdening the hotels with inventories. The housekeepers can share the consumption patterns with the suppliers and stock up for three months. Hence, the hotel can order for the same once a week thus reducing costs, space and storage areas in the hotel. An example of a brand which Vivanta by Taj works is Forest essential and we have never faced a problem on unavailability of items.”